WIAW: Makin’ Changes

No matter how much you may love your life–your daily routine, your meals, your workouts, etc.–there’s always a time for change. I’ve been making some changes lately and loving them…so let’s get to it, WIAW-style! (P.S. These are all my meals from Monday)

Breakfast: grain free almond joy pancakes (almond flour, raw cacao powder, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, raw cacao protein powder 'frosting'), roasted kabocha.

Breakfast: grain free almond joy pancakes (almond flour, raw cacao powder, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, raw cacao protein powder ‘frosting’), roasted kabocha.

I’ve been moving away from my beloved homemade buckwheat waffles to grain free pancakes. I change my breakfasts up every few months and now I’m on a pancake kick, especially almond or peanut flour based pancakes. They’re not pretty but they’re tasty and easy to whip up and change around. The almond joy inspired combo is a real winner…I can’t believe I hated coconut for so long!

My new hair (and new-ish dress).

My new hair (and new-ish dress).

I had a long overdue hair appointment on Friday. Seriously, I hadn’t gotten it done since August, yikes. I got more blonde highlights added and took the plunge and got full bangs, rather than my usual sideswept. I gotta say, I love my new bangs. I feel more adult and fashion-y, if that makes any sense.

Lunch part 1: green smoothie (made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach and Sunwarrior vanilla).

Lunch part 1: green smoothie (made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach and Sunwarrior vanilla).

I don’t do smoothies a lot (they’re too filling for me, and I’d rather eat my calories) but I wasn’t feeling a salad today so I went for my greens in smoothie form. I actually didn’t finish this because it was getting too filling, but it was pretty delish. I think I’ll be doing more green smoothies for lunch this semester on busy days.

Lunch part 2: Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Lunch part 2: Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Sorry for the millions of Instagrammed WF salad bar photos–can you tell I’m obsessed?! I’ve just been trying to get my fill of the salad bar while I’m still home on break because as I’ve said before, the WF near me at school has a subpar salad bar. Though, I haven’t been there in over 5 weeks, so maybe they’ve improved it…? I celebrated the Golden Globes on Sunday with half of this box, and saved the rest for Monday’s lunch. Leftovers have never tasted better!

Snack (reused photo, minus the bok choy): half garnet yam with peanut flour 'frosting', sunflower seed butter, mini dark chocolate chips and chopped dried fig.

Snack (reused photo, minus the bok choy): half garnet yam with peanut flour ‘frosting’, sunflower seed butter, mini dark chocolate chips and chopped dried fig.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been eating too many grains lately. Not necessarily on purpose (oh and BTW, I am NOT going paleo, I could never eat all that meat/eggs), just because I’ve found that other things are more appealing to me, plus I just like to switch things up and I’m actually doing a lot more experimenting now without relying on grains for most of my meals. Anyways, my favorite snack at the moment is a sweet potato/yam topped with SSB, peanut flour paste, dried fruit and chocolate chips. Sweet potatoes are a great filling snack option, and they’re just amazing topped with nut butters and chocolate. Trust me, it sounds weird but when the chocolate gets all melty, you’ll understand my obsession.

Dinner: peanut coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry with kale, pineapple, peanut flour and edamame.

Dinner: peanut coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry with kale, pineapple, peanut flour and edamame.

I’m so glad I discovered kelp noodles, because they’re my favorite easy go-to dinner lately. They don’t add any weird taste and soak up other flavors easily so they’re perfect in stirfrys. I know a lot of people like using spaghetti squash as a pasta replacement and as much as I love squash, the spaghetti variety isn’t my fave. Kelp noodles are also a veggie-based pasta replacement (a sea veggie, so they have a lot of minerals!) but I just like them better, and there’s minimal prep work involved with them.

Dessert: PB chocolate protein microwave cake topped with sunflower seed butter, mint chocolate almond milk ice cream, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

Dessert: PB chocolate protein microwave cake topped with sunflower seed butter, mint chocolate almond milk ice cream, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

This is a normal dessert for me, but I’m planning on switching it up. I like having some protein before bed to keep me from getting hungry, but I’m going to forgo my usual almond or coconut milk ice cream for awhile. It’s kinda expensive to buy (even just twice a month like I was doing) and has a lot of sugar. I’ve been cleaning up my eats a bit lately and am trying to go for more natural sugars. Even though the ice creams aren’t unhealthy or as sugary as normal ice cream, I just need to take a break from them for awhile and try out different desserts like banana softserve, nuts and dried fruit, etc. But the daily dark chocolate habit won’t be changing anytime soon 😉

Have you been making any changes in your life lately? What’s your go-to breakfast?

I’m Done…

I’m done…with focusing on calories, rather than nutrients

Larabars might have a ‘lot’ of calories, but they’re healthy and simple!

I want to be a healthy vegan, so what does that mean? Getting enough fats and protein. Instead of seeking out the lowest calorie faux meat products (which do have protein, but aren’t that healthy), I want to buy nutrient-dense things that will fuel my body and help me feel my best, like Larabars and Sunshine Burgers (made from seeds, beans and veggies). I want to stop shying away from coconut products just because of their high saturated fat content. I’m done with being scared of plant-based fats, period.

I’m done…with having tiny portions of everything

Four mini pancakes are NOT enough for breakfast alone!

I know I will always likely have a smaller appetite than a lot of people but that doesn’t mean I have to eat like a hummingbird! I’m sick of eating small amounts at every meal and feeling hungry and unsatisfied an hour or two later. If I want to feel more comfortable with eating more, I can choose to snack more between my mini meals or even just increase the size of my meals a little bit over time. I’m tired of only having 1/4 cup of oats at breakfast (even with toppings it’s not enough) and only allowing myself a teaspoon of nut butter per day.

I’m done…with restricting my calories and my life

Why can’t I feel okay eating an entire (170 calorie) vegan chocolate chip cookie at one sitting and more than a tiny bowl of almond milk ice cream?

I’ve wasted way too much of my life semi-starving myself and listening to ED’s stupid demands. I want to be okay eating the calories I need to live a healthy life. I want to sometimes order something other than a salad at a restaurant. I want to cook vegan things that even my omni family will love, because it’s full of nutrients and flavor. I’m sick of freaking out every day that I exercise a little bit less than I wanted to. I’m done with constantly tallying up my calories and macro nutrients and over analyzing them.

I’m done…with second-guessing my cooking skills

My first attempt at a homemade vegan ice cream pie for Father’s Day…everyone loved it!

I hate worrying about cooking things for my family and wondering if they’ll even like it, just because it’s something they’re not used to. I want to do even more experimenting with cooking for myself. I want to make even more vegan desserts to show my family that vegan things can be just as tasty as normal desserts.

Vegan Ice Cream Pie (vegan)

8 sandwich cookies, any flavor (I used Whole Foods’ store brand, which are all-natural, but Oreos and Newman O’s are also vegan)

1/2 pint vegan ice cream, any flavor or variety like almond/coconut/soy (I used Almond Dream’s cappuccino swirl)

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder or cacao powder

1/2 tbsp agave or maple syrup

splash almond milk (or water)

fresh berries/bananas, shaved dark chocolate, vegan whipped cream, etc. for garnish

Separate the sandwich cookies and set aside the filling. Crumble cookies by hand or in a food processor until finely crushed. Mix in filling until mostly combined and starting to stick together. Press cookie crust into bottom of medium-sized glass bowl or cake pan and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Let ice cream soften and spread 1/4 of a pint over the crust, smoothing down with a rubber spatula or flat wooden spoon. Place in freezer for 30-60 minutes, or until ice cream layer is hardened. In a small bowl, stir together cocoa powder and agave until mostly mixed, and add in a splash of almond milk or water until it becomes a thick fudge-like paste. Spoon over ice cream layer and place in freezer for another 30 minutes. Let ice cream soften again and spread the remaining 1/4 pint over the fudge layer and freeze entire pie for 1-3 hours. Serve topped with berries, shaved/melted chocolate or whatever toppings you’d like. Makes 4 slices. 

What are you “done with”? How do you feel about cooking for others?

Best of…May! (and an award)

Uh, yeah, so how crazy is it that it’s already June? Where has this year gone? I can’t believe that last month at this time, I was stressing about finals and projects. Now I’m stressing (sorta) about my internship and packing. More on those later though!

Best New Find: Justin’s vanilla almond butter and So Delicious almond milk ice cream

Probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent!

Last month I discovered sooooooo many new-to-me products, it was a little crazy. Not that I’m complaining, though–one of my favorite things to do is buy new products and try them out. Sure, sometimes they disappoint but in other cases (like with the nut butter and ice cream), they were beyond amazing.

Best Discussion: Eating Comes at a Cost

I know I’ve said this before, but you guys are the best! Seriously, I’ve been loving all the responses I’ve gotten so far. I am very passionate about issues like this but these kinds of posts are always hard for me to publish because I worry about the backlash. You guys are always really respectful and thoughtful in your comments, though, which is great!

Best Recipe: Peanut Flour Pancakes

How delicious do these look?

Not gonna lie, this was muy dificil to decide on! Considering I had a record number of recipes in May (12 of them!) I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just one. But these protein-packed, peanutty pancakes are something I’ve been coming back to over and over. They’re simple to make but taste almost gourmet.

Best Non-Food Post: Work It Out

Hiking in snow…in the summer?!

Even though my blog is usually about food, I definitely have other interests, like fashion and fitness! I really liked sharing my favorite ways to workout and even though none of them involve the gym, I’ve come to realize that no one way to exercise is better than another.

Best Photo

I don’t know why, but this is just a gorgeous photo!

A lot of you commented on this photo and said you liked it. Well, I do too! Instagram is my favorite app, hands down, and this photo just speaks to me somehow.

And now for the award ceremony 😉 Hahaha, just kidding, but both Aja and Kat nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks, ladies!

1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2. Answer these 10 questions, below, for fun if you want to.
3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs 
(I was too slow.) you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

1. What is your favorite color?

Pink, for sure! I love hot pink, light pink, whatever shade. I also love orange, especially paired with pink.

2. What is your favorite animal?

This is really hard, but I’m gonna go with rabbits. I think bunnies are the cutest thing ever, especially the lop-eared kind. I really want to get a bunny for a pet someday.

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Iced coffee, no milk and sweetened with flavored stevia. I just discovered that Panera has this as a drink option by the soda machines…score!

4. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter! I love reading really short updates (I have a short attention span) and funny tweets (like by Condescending Wonka).

5. What is your favorite pattern?

Is lace a pattern? If it is, that’s what I choose. I have a few lacy pieces that I really love–they’re girly and cute but still elegant.

6. Do you prefer giving or getting presents? 

Not gonna lie, getting presents is better. I do love giving presents, but getting them is just so exciting!

7. What is your favorite number?

7 or 11. I like 7 because I was born on July 27th, and I like 11 because it rhymes with 7 😀

8. What is your favorite day of the week? 

I probably would have said Saturday a month ago, but now that I intern on that day, I’ll go with Friday. It’s not quite as special during the summer, but it’s still great.

9. What is your favorite flower? 

I like those huge, brightly-colored daisies!

10. What is your passion?

Clothes and grocery shopping, being outside and yoga.

Now it’s time for some nominations!

Alexandra She just started a new blog all about lifting and life in general. I loved her old blog and I have a feeling I’m gonna love this one even more!

Tessa I can always relate to her ED posts and she always has the best insights! I love her honesty and she really takes the time to respond to her reader’s comments, which I think is awesome.

Chloe I am super jealous of her cooking skills! Her food photography always makes me drool, too.

Amy Lauren I wish I could be an amazing runner like she is! She’s also a really great writer, and her race recaps are fun to read.

Lena I love that she’s from Colorado too, and I’m jealous that she gets to go to all these cool Denver-area restaurants! She’s also an awesome runner.

What was the best workout you did in May? What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

So Many Products, So Little Time

It’s probably no secret that I absolutely love product reviews. I’ve done them a few times on my blog and I also like reading them on other blogs so I know what’s worth trying out and what’s not. It’s so much fun trying out new things and since I know a lot of you like product reviews too, I like to be able to share my unbiased opinions.

Lately I’ve been able to buy more new products and test them out, so I’m gonna share a bunch of them right now!

So Delicious Unsweetened Almond Plus

Like I mentioned in my last WIAW post, I’ve been trying out different almond milks lately. I’ve had my eye on this one since I first heard about it, but had yet to see it anywhere until my mom made a stop at Walmart and I noticed it there. Yep, Walmart of all places has a pretty decent selection of almond milks. Who knew? I opted for this one instead of the Silk unsweetened vanilla I was planning on getting since this one seems to be pretty rare. I like that it’s unsweetened, has some vitamins (not enough calcium though, boo!) and even has 5 grams of protein per cup. I always need a little extra protein and since I don’t do soy milk much anymore, it’s great to find an almond milk that has some. It’s fairly thick for almond milk, and makes a great addition to smoothies or with cereal. I just wish they’d come out with an unsweetened vanilla kind.

Carrot cake smoothie made with So Delicious Almond Plus.

Ohgave! Honey Vanilla Agave Syrup

If you’re vegan and miss honey (I still have raw honey from time to time, as I don’t believe it harms the bees) this agave is perfect for you! I honestly wish it had more of a vanilla taste, but that’s just me. It’s the perfect drippy syrup consistency, so it works great on pancakes. I bought it because I wanted a cheaper alternative to real maple syrup and it’s great for recipes too that call for maple syrup. The company has several other flavored agaves, including blueberry, but I passed on that because it’s not as versatile as honey vanilla. I would love to try it when I run out of this one though.

Peanut flour chocolate chip pancakes drizzles with Ohgave! honey vanilla agave.

Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter

Even though it’s a local-ish company (from Boulder) I’ve never tried Justin’s nut butters. I know, I know, I’m crazy. They just never appealed to me because I prefer nut butters without added sugar or oil. However, when I saw the mini squeeze-pack of the vanilla almond butter in the Whole Foods aisle when I was checking out, I couldn’t pass it up (especially since it was just 99 cents). It tastes basically like frosting in nut butter form so it’s a definite repeat buy!

Rising Moon Organics Artichoke & Olive Ravioli

I first tried their butternut squash ravioli for Christmas Eve dinner and fell in love. I was never a huge ravioli lover as a kid, but the vegan kinds are actually super delish. I am obsessed with artichokes and olives so I knew this kind would be perfect for me. They cooked up fast and were yummy, if not strongly flavored. The insides were soft and purple, which was a little weird, but still good. I want to try their gnocchi next, since I’ve never had gnocchi before.

Rising Moon Organics vegan ravioli (not the artichoke olive one) with peanut sauce and roasted asparagus.

So Delicious Cookies ‘N Cream Almond Milk ice cream

I’ve also been on the lookout for this since So Delicious introduced almond milk ice creams a few months ago. I love Almond Dream’s cappuccino swirl almond milk ice cream but the So Delicious flavors sounded even better. I will admit I’ve been drooling over their line of coconut milk ice creams (you can’t tell me turtle trails and pomegranate chip don’t sound heavenly) but I’m scared to death of anything with coconut because of the high saturated fat content. It’s a fear I want to conquer, though, because a lot of vegan items contain coconut and from what I remember, it’s delicious. Anyways, I finally found the So Delicious almond milk ice creams at the Whole Foods I rarely go to since it’s on the other side of town. It was well worth the trip (and the 4 bucks) for this pint of deliciousness. I’ve always preferred cookies ‘n cream to cookie dough flavored things, and this version was totally creamy and cookie-packed without being overwhelming. In half a cup it only has 7 grams of sugar plus 5 grams of fiber. Try finding that in dairy ice cream! I’m excited to try the mint chip and mocha almond fudge flavors next. Who am I kidding, I want to try them all!

Whole Foods vegan chocolate chip cookie

I’ve always wanted to try Whole Foods vegan baked goods but since I usually shop there with my parents, I was never able to convince them to shell over a few bucks for a cookie or muffin. I like baking things myself, but when I can find relatively healthy vegan treats for a pretty low price, I’m there. When I made a quick solo stop at Whole Foods last week (when I got the vanilla almond butter and almond milk ice cream) I also bought one of their vegan chocolate chip cookies for just 99 cents. For just 170 calories, this cookie is thick, huge and delicious. Mine wasn’t as soft as I would have liked, but a quick spin in the microwave took care of that. You wouldn’t even know it’s vegan, because it’s just that good.

Do you prefer cookies ‘n cream or cookie dough? What’s the best new product you’ve bought lately?

ABCs and Recipes

Last summer, I was completely obsessed with blog surveys. I did one almost every week, usually on Wednesday (for WIAW) and I loved coming up with answers for the questions. I got a little burned out on them after a while, but now that I’ve seen this new survey pop up all over the place, I decided to jump in on it. I’ve also got a couple more recipes for you too!

A is for Age: 19, but I’ll be 20 in 4 months!

B is for Breakfast today: Coffee-flavored overnight oats topped with a little peanut flour paste, with a side of veggie bacon (made crispy in the microwave) and some raisins.

C is for Currently Craving: Starbucks unsweetened iced coffee! I had my first one yesterday and it was totally refreshing for a warm spring day. I sweetened it up with a little Truvia and it was perfection.

Enjoying some Starbucks in the sunshine.

D is for Dinner tonight: Hopefully some Mediterranean food at Garbanzo, aka my favorite fast casual restaurant!

E is for favorite type of Exercise: Either biking or tennis. I hope I can do one of those tomorrow, since it’s supposed to be super warm!

F is for irrational Fear: Someone breaking into my house…and squirrels.

G is for Gross food: Any kind of meat (that’s why I’m veg*n), ketchup and eggs. Ick!

H is for Hometown: Phoenix, AZ. Now I live in CO but I want to move back to AZ someday for the warm weather.

I need to live in Phoenix so I can tan outside all the time.

I is for something Important: I couldn’t live without my family, seriously.

J is for current favorite Jam: Music-wise, I’m loving “Starships” by Nicki Minaj. Food-wise, I really like orange ginger marmalade.

K is for Kids: Obviously not right now, but someday I’d love to have twin girls!

L is for current Location: See photo below!

I love being outside!

M is for the most recent way you spent Money: I bought Starbucks drinks for me and my sister.

N is for something you Need: Ummm, how about a car? I’ve loved being able to drive myself around this week and I’m kinda mad that I won’t be able to do that again until summer.

O is for Occupation: Student and blogger right now, future TV anchor hopefully soon 😀

Outfit of the day: striped crop top (Hollister), navy twill shorts (Hollister), silver bangles (American Eagle).

P is for Pet Peeve: Chipped nail polish. I love having my nails polished, but I have to repaint them almost every day because they constantly chip!

Q is for Quote: 

R is for Random fact about you: I have a tooth that grew in facing backwards! I had to have braces on my lower teeth for over 3 years because of it but it’s still backwards.

S is for favorite healthy Snack: Kale chips. Here’s my latest recipe for them…

Why are kale chips so addicting?

Curried Kale Chips (vegan, gluten-free)

1 bunch kale, washed and dried

curry powder, garam masala, sea salt, cracked black pepper (to taste)

oil spray (I used Pam)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Tear kale into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Spritz lightly with oil spray and sprinkle on spices (add as much or as little as you’d like). Place kale on foil-lined baking trays and put in oven for 20-30 minutes, until crisp. 

T is for favorite Treat: Gelato, or almond milk ‘ice cream’. As far as desserts go, cold ones are definitely my favorite, I’m not as huge of a fan of baked goods, but I also love raw desserts.

U is for something that makes you Unique: My eyes used to be blue when I was a baby, but now they’re hazel! As much as I think blue eyes are really pretty, I think hazel ones are really cool.

V is for favorite Vegetable: My favorites at the moment include spinach, baby carrots, edamame, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and asparagus.

A produce-filled lunch: quinoa pasta salad (the colored ones are made of dried spinach and beets) with baby carrots, edamame and vegan Caesar dressing, side of fresh mango.

Super Simple Pasta Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup quinoa pasta

1/4 cup cooked edamame

handful chopped carrots, other veggies

1 tbsp dressing of choice (I used Follow Your Heart’s vegan Caesar)

Make pasta according to package. Mix with edamame and other veggies and place in a bowl in the fridge for a few hours. Once chilled, toss with dressing and other toppings of choice, like nooch, nuts or dried fruit (makes 1 serving).

W is for today’s Workout: I did a quickie cardio circuit, and I’m also going to be spending the day shopping. Shopping is my favorite form of cardio, hands down 😉

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Right ankle, left wrist, teeth and right foot. I also had an MRI done when I fractured my right ankle in fourth grade.

Y is for Yesterday’s highlight: Getting to pick up my sister from school and taking her to Starbucks, having my last orthodontist appointment ever, making dinner for my family. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures but I made orange chicken-style tofu with quinoa. It was decent, but I want to tweak the recipe before I post it.

Z is for your time Zone: Mountain time zone, baby! I love being one of the few bloggers actually in this time zone, haha.

 

Answer any of these for yourself!

WIAW: Spring Break Bonanza!

Let me start off by saying…thank you all SO much for your comments on my last post! It seriously means the world to me that you all care so much about me and want to see me live my life to the fullest–without ED in it, of course.

BTW to all who asked, the doctor appointment was not what I expected. My weight was a little higher than it was when I weighed myself at home, because the appointment was soon after breakfast and I was wearing jeans with a belt, but both weights were low and I was expecting the doctor to say something about it but she really didn’t. I guess she didn’t think losing about 5-7 pounds was a big deal, which obviously I think is, considering my BMI is now between 15.5 and 16. It’s kind of discouraging to not have the support of the doctor is my efforts to eat more, but I will just have to rely on my own strength (and your comments) to take the plunge and fuel myself properly. It’ll be hard, but I know it’ll be worth it.

Anyway, on to more exciting things–like this week’s WIAW! I have tried a ridiculous amount of new-to-me things in the past couple of days and I’ve loved being home because I can actually cook things. I only have a couple of recipes for you so far, but I will be sharing more in the next few days as I continue to cook up a storm! Today, I want to share the recipes and also my reviews on some products I just tried. Let’s get to it!

Probably the best nondairy 'ice cream' I've ever tried!

I love almond milk, especially Pacific Naturals unsweetened vanilla, but I had never tried (or even seen) almond milk ice cream. I’ve had a couple of flavors of soy ice cream before and they were okay but nothing too great. Luckily, this Almond Dream ‘ice cream’ was way more amazing! It was super creamy, and tasted exactly like an iced latte from Starbucks. The swirl of chocolate was a nice surprise too. I would definitely buy this again, but I also want to try the new So Delicious almond milk ice creams.

Orange and dark chocolate is almost as good as raspberry and dark chocolate.

And to think just a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t go anywhere near chocolate! Yes, it is still somewhat scary for me to eat, but I still eat a little bit of some dark chocolate every day, because it makes me happy. When I discovered this mini Chocolove bar at Whole Foods, my dad encouraged me to get it so I did. The moment I tried my first square, I fell in love. Orange and dark chocolate are a match made in foodie heaven, for reals! Now I really want to try all of their other dark chocolate bars–I love that they’re dairy-free, and local-ish (they’re made in Boulder).

Quinoa pasta with vegan spinach 'cheese' sauce, smart bacon strips.

Since I bought nutritional yeast a few weeks back, I’ve been really wanting to try a vegan mac and cheese recipe. I kind of improvised my own and it actually turned out pretty tasty. The quinoa pasta I served it on was new and really yummy. I loved that it’s just made out of corn and quinoa flours (so it’s gluten-free for all of you out there who are gluten-intolerant or just want to switch it up from wheat pasta) and this variety also incorporated some spinach and beets. Extra veggies = win!

Spinach ‘Cheese’ Sauce (vegan, high protein)

1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other nondairy milk)

1/2 tbsp whole wheat flour (or cornstarch)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

cracked pepper, to taste

handful spinach

Mix almond milk and flour in a pot over medium heat until combined and thickened. Add in rest of the ingredients and stir until spinach is wilted. Serve over pasta, quinoa or as a spinach ‘cheese’ dip (makes 1 serving). 

Red cabbage with vegan Caesar dressing, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast topped with almond peanut cashew butter and peanut flour, frozen pineapple, orange seitan.

Westsoy seitan strips and Follow Your Heart vegan Caesar dressing are two of my many new Whole Foods finds. It was my first time trying seitan and I wasn’t really a fan. I love that it has tons of protein (21 grams per serving) but the texture just sketched me out. I made it orange chicken style, and it was decent but I wouldn’t buy it again. Maybe it was just the brand, but I didn’t really like it. The dressing on the other hand, was perfection in a bottle! It reminds me of regular Caesar dressing, only less rich. I love dipping carrots in it and topping fresh cabbage with it. I even made kale chips with the dressing that turned out pretty yummy.

This is my "Gotta go take a drug test so I have to drink up" face.

I have been loving being able to drive myself places over the past few days. At school, I don’t have my own car but being at home and having three cars at my disposal has been so nice! This may sound weird, but I love driving all by myself because I can sing along to “Starships” (one of my new fave songs) and go wherever I want. The reason I’ve been driving myself so much is that I’ve had tons of appointments this week and since both my parents have to work, I had to go to them on my own, which was fine by me. That means more singing 😉 Plus I’ve always wanted to take one of those pictures when you’re in the front seat so yesterday before my internship meeting, I did just that. No worries, I was parked–otherwise I would have had no hands on the wheel! And I was just drinking some iced water sweetened with some vanilla stevia so I could take a required drug test for my summer internship. If you’ve never put liquid stevia in your water, dooooo it now! The vanilla reminds me of a non-carbonated cream soda.

There's no shame in going to Whole Foods three times in five days!

Speaking of going wherever I want, I made a pit stop after my meeting on Tuesday at Whole Foods. It was weird shopping on my own, mostly because I think other people thought I was just a kid and not an almost-20-year-old because of my size, but I didn’t get too many weird stares because the store was pretty dead compared to most times I go. At first I was going to grab myself a lunch thing from the hot/cold bars but I decided to play it cheap and just buy a bunch of random stuff I’ve wanted to try. I’ve had the unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze before, but not in a while and it’s just so good (plus it was on sale). I grabbed a couple of fruit strips, some vegan sprinkles because sprinkles are just fun, another mini Chocolove bar (this time raspberries in dark chocolate) and a Two Moms in the Raw cacao chia bar. I really wanted to get their almond butter cacao truffles, but they were a little bit too expensive. I love raw bars in general (especially Pure bars) so I can’t wait to try this one. I also snagged a couple cappuccino Larabars when I hit up WF on Saturday–this is my first time getting a Larabar and I’m so excited to try out their new flavor!

The perfect dessert for spring.

I finally got around to making raw cashew ‘cheesecake’. I mentioned in my last WIAW that I wanted to make a key lime version so I did! I tweaked the recipe I’m posting a little because I had to basically scrape the crust together out of a few things I had and it didn’t make enough to be the base for a whole cheesecake. But it’s pretty tasty and really simple.


Raw Key Lime ‘Cheesecake’ (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

1 cup cashews, soaked for 6-12 hours

1 tbsp sweetener (I used a mix of maple syrup and vanilla stevia drops)

1/2 lime, squeezed

1/2 cup raw almonds

4-6 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tbsp raw rolled oats

Mix cashews, sweetener and lime juice in a food processor until thick, creamy and combined. Add water as needed. Set aside and blend almonds, dates and oats in a blender or food processor until combined. Spread crust in a small dish and top with cashew cream. Top with key lime slices (makes 4 slices).

The newest overnight oats flavor--chocolate covered orange!

I haven’t come up with a new overnight oats combo in a while–obviously that had to change. Taking inspiration from my newest obsession, the Chocolove orange peel in dark chocolate bar, I whipped up chocolate covered orange oats. I sweetened the oats base with some Valencia orange stevia drops and then in the morning, topped them with Sumo tangerine slices and a square of the orange peel chocolate. Mmmmmm! Next time, I’d make a parfait, layering chocolate oats and orange oats with orange slices and keeping the chocolate on top.

This vegan meat sub is a definite winner!

So you know how I said above that I’m not a fan of seitan? That doesn’t mean I don’t like any vegan whole food meat substitutes. I think I’m a tempeh girl at heart! The first time I tried Lightlife’s tempeh bacon last summer, I fell in love. I finally decided to try their flax tempeh, even though I’ve heard people say that the plain varieties can be bitter. Not to me! I even tried a little piece uncooked and I loved the nutty flavor. I cooked some up fry-style (sliced thin and sautéed until browned) and served it on top of a spinach salad with spicy avocado hummus and a side of a yam topped with nut butter and raisins. I loved this tempeh even more when it was cooked–I’m thinking it’s definitely a new staple. It’s actually got pretty stellar nutritionals–20 grams of protein in 4 ounces, plus 11 grams of fiber!

Curried sweet potato pinto burger (under the red cabbage and jalapeno), grilled asparagus, sweet potato tots, mustard.

For dinner last night, I made some veggie burgers for my fam–first time ever making them for someone besides just me! These were a winner, which is always exciting for me to hear because I love seeing my family choose healthier options. These are totally healthy, but hearty enough for any meat lover…and they’re perfect for sweet potato lovers like me! They’re based off Mama Pea’s recipe, but I made some tweaks to make them my own.

Curried Sweet Potato Pinto Burgers (vegan, gluten-free)

1-15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 small sweet potato, cooked and peeled

1 1/2 tbsp nut butter (I used almond peanut cashew)

spices, to taste (I used cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, garlic salt and black pepper)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Flatten bean mix and make into four even-sized patties, and place patties in pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and slightly crunchy. Serve on buns, in a wrap, on top of a salad, however you like your veggie burgers!

Wow, this was a crazy-long post! Sorry about that, obviously I am just so excited about all my new finds and recipes I’ve tried out. Of course, there’s still more to come, but I will save that for a later post. I don’t want to bore all of you 😀

Have you ever tried tempeh or seitan? What’s your new favorite Whole Foods find (or from another store if you don’t have one near you)?